Newsom needs to halt transgender mixing of prison populations, women advocates say

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A California law allowing transgender inmates to pick the prison gender of their choice has come under fire from a women’s rights group citing abuse of females by men.

In a letter to Gov. Gavin Newsom, the Women’s Liberation Front accused the state of violating the constitutional rights of incarcerated women by allowing men into their living quarters to “prey on women.” Since the law took effect on Jan. 1, WLF has received numerous complaints of assaulted, abused, and traumatized women at the hands of male inmates transferred into their prisons, WoLF Legal Director Lauren Adams said.

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“We are working with a woman who was punched in the face so hard by a new transfer that she couldn’t chew for three days. He was taken away and released back in a different yard with no restrictions,” Adams said. “He was her cellmate. She had to sleep with him.”

Other women have been sexually abused in the past and must now contend with nude men sharing communal showers, Adams said.

“One woman went in there with two naked men showering who still had penises,” Adams added. “It was incredibly traumatic and scary, to know for, [possibly], the rest of their lives they are going to be subjected to this.”

The state currently has 273 transfer requests; 266 are from people housed at male institutions requesting to be transferred to a female institution, and seven are from people at female institutions requesting to be transferred to a male institution, according to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation. California has 1,286 inmates identified as transgender or nonbinary.

Currently, 24 male prisoners have been transferred to female institutions. WoLF theorizes that many men transferring into women’s prisons are not transgender but are just trying to escape their current living situation.

“A lot of these men checking the box and trying to get transfers are probably trying to save their lives. I wouldn’t want to be in the men’s prison,” Adams said. “You are giving them a way to get out of that, but now it’s the women who are in danger.”

Most women in state prison have been abused at some point in their lives, and many have endured sexual assaults. Having to sleep in a cell with a man or shower with them is traumatic, Adams said.

State law requires a committee to vet the transfers, but a large number of men who got through have violent pasts. For example, one male transfer was convicted of assaulting two boys aged 6 and 8. Another had multiple counts of forcible rape, and he still had his penis, Adams said.

A CDCR spokesperson told the Washington Examiner the transfer process includes “a thorough review of the incarcerated person’s history prior to and during incarceration, their crime, arrest and criminal history, trial and sentencing documentation, medical and mental health needs ...”

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WoLF is asking the governor to halt all new transfers and remove the inmates who have already transferred until a safety assessment can be made.

CDCR did not respond to a request for comment as of press time.

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Tags: News, California, Gavin Newsom, Prison

Original Author: Tori Richards

Original Location: Newsom needs to halt transgender mixing of prison populations, women advocates say

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